Y2k test delays support checks

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Y2k test delays support checks

Thursday, October 28, 1999

Associated Press

COLUMBIA - Child-support checks won't be in the mail for some 13,000 South Carolinians this month until the state checks its computer system for Year 2000 compliance. The computer, shut down since Monday, is supposed to be back on line Friday. But as a result, the Social Services Department said some checks would be delayed more than a week. The delay affects those on welfare or who still get their checks through DSS because they were on welfare. People who receive child support checks from their county's court clerk will not be affected, Marilyn Matheus, a DSS spokeswoman, said Wednesday. The shutdown is part of the department's plan to prepare for any computer glitches that might occur when the calendar rolls over to 2000. Some computer software codes may recognize the new millennium as 1900 and cause malfunctions. Governments and businesses around the world have spent billions of dollars to make their computer systems Y2K compliant. Matheus said there was no way to avoid a delay with the checks because the system needed to be tested. For those whose bills are pressing and who cannot wait a week, the department will help arrange extensions from landlords and utilities, she said. DSS mailed out 60,000 letters about the delay to be sure no one was excluded, but the number of people affected is far fewer, she said. "Simply put, we believe an inconvenience is necessary now in order to make sure that your child-support checks continue to reach you after the New Year," the letter said. No money will be lost with the tests, another department spokesman, Jerry Adams, said. "We're sorry for any inconvenience, but we have to change the system to make sure we're Y2K compliant," Adams said.

-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), October 28, 1999

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